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Thread: Guitar signal clipping before going into DAW?

  1. #1

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    Unhappy Guitar signal clipping before going into DAW?

    Im having a potential issue with recording guitar into Reaper. It seems that the signal coming from my guitar is too hot maybe and getting clipped or limited before being processed by the DAW.

    My signal chain is:
    musicmann jason richardson 7 string
    radial pro DI box
    focusrite scarlett 2i2 3rd gen
    reaper DAW
    NeuralDSP Nolly pluggin

    The tone sounds great but the waveforms are clearly getting clipped a little when im playing. I have the gain knob on the scarlet set to where it stays just in the green no matter how hard I pick (playing metal). Im not using the dB booster on the pickup.

    Guitar signal clipping before going into DAW?-musicman-waveform-png

    Im nut sure if there is a setting i can change somewhere to help de-clip the signal or if i need to get a good declipping pluggin to use or what? Any help would be appreciated. Been trying to post on the Reaper forums but its taking forever for my account to get activated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    Did you try turning down the Gain on your Interface? And is it set to Mic or Instrument Level
    Iíd try turning the Gain down while monitoring the Level in your DAW
    The LED on the Interface might not turn Red, but it could still be too hot for the DAW
    Hard to tell, since i donít know Reaper or the Focusrite Scarlett
    Really doubt thereís anything wrong with the Guitar or DI in this Case
    Last edited by dave1812; 06-30-2020 at 03:16 PM.
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  3. #3

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    My first guess is that the gain is a little too hot on the focusrite.

    You want the signal going into Reaper to be around -18 dBFS (which corresponds approx to 0 dBU in old analog levels). I find with my setup (using an Onyx Producer 2-2, not a focusrite) that I don't have to be much above -18 dBFS to get clipping.

    Looking at the focusrite manual, the green LED comes on at -24 dBFS and you don't see amber until -6 dBFS, which means you can very easily have a signal already way too hot before you get the amber light. So, listen to your input in Reaper, use the channel meter to check your input level, and find out what gain level on the focus rite do you need to be to avoid clipping. Staying 3 dB or 6 dB below that might seem like your input is too low but you won't accidentally clip and you can boost it as much as you like once in reaper without adding any noise. You can add a volume boost on the guitar input FX chain and do it automatically as you record.

    And by the way, with the built-in buffer on the Richardson guitar, I don't think you need to use the Radial DI. I don't think it will cause any problems but I don't see any advantage to using it unless you have a 50ft+ long cable run to the focusrite, so feel to try not using it and see what happens.
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  4. #4

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    I probably should of named this thread "signal is getting limited before getting to DAW"

    The only reason I got the DI box is that just going straight from guitar to interface I could have the interface gain knob at 0 and it would start clipping just from normal playing so I needed something to lower the levels before getting to the interface which the DI box helped tons with.

    When i turn on the AIR setting (which emulates a higher end pre-amp) on the interface it lets the waveform break through the clipped/limiter brick wall it has and the waveform isn't chopped but the peaks are still pretty jagged (not smooth). And also when i turn the gain knob to where the light goes to yellow or red it lets the waveform out of the compressing box its in but of course then im actually clipping for reals which defeats the purpose.

    I just don't get why my peaks on the waveform are getting clipped/limited/compressed when im not actually clipping according to my interface and reaper. Im not hitting -18dB but its around -12dB ish. Its like there's a limiter or compressor somewhere that i can't figure out. It's like when the interface light shows green the waveform/ is limited but when its actually clipping cause its too hot the waveform has full range which makes no sense.

  5. #5

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    The waveform looks a little too ďbusyĒ if thatís a clean signal, unless you are playing with distortion added in reaper, maybe?

    The picture doesnít show the meters, so I canít tell what the dB levels are reaching. Can you send a screenshot of that channel strip in the DAW?

    If the inputs on the Focusrite arenít peaking at all, is there some sort of volume knob for the ďoutĒ signal gain?

    also, maybe turnoff the plugins until you figure out where the clipping is (it could also be a plugin causing it). Have you tried other guitars/instruments at the same setting to hear how it records?
    Last edited by Astrofreq; 07-01-2020 at 08:23 PM.

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  6. #6

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    Here is a pic of 2 tracks, they are both a clean signal with no pluggins.
    The signal chain is //guitar, di box, interface, reaper//

    The first track is with the gain knob on the interface at 3 (or 9 o'clock)

    The second track is with the gain knob at around 5 (or 11 o'clock) This is as high as i can turn it before the green light starts to turn yellow. If i turn the gain knob anymore up it stop limiting the signal as it start clipping through the interface.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Guitar signal clipping before going into DAW?-2-forms-png  

  7. #7

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    Wow. That is obviously clipping. I don't know why. I've just reproduced my issue with my Silhouette Special but it seems to be noise in the monitoring loop of my interface, it does not come through in recording to reaper, and so cannot be what you have.

    Did you try the Reaper forum? Those guys are very knowledgeable. is there a Focusrite forum?
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